It’s a little bit cathartic in that sometimes a TV series just highlight what’s sad about anime as a narrative format. In the government-grant-funded one-shot, everything is put together in a way that needs no additional explanation. In the TV series so many of the things I liked about the one-shot are missing. In its place is lower-quality animation and slower pacing to suit.
At the same time, I know all of it before I even started watching these two things. I knew the compromises it has to make to stretch a concept 12 times longer. I knew it has to hold some cards back in the hand. But unfortunately many of those things Death Parade is holding back are the things I like about it. The receptionist with an attitude, the dry humor, the funky high speed cuts, the glossier look to life (or after life or whatever)?
Stripping away most of the things I liked from Death Billiards is a good way to show me what lies underneath all of it, and it’s not encouraging. Basically it’s some random unexpected competition that make people express their inner, hidden feelings and ends with a twist as people relive and gain catharsis over their final moments of death. I think that part of the show is solid, but isn’t it just kind of lame without all the trimming?
I don’t know if the strings-attached funds behind Death Billiards mattered, in that some things they could or could not do with Death Parade. Reusing its footage, for example.
The silver lining in all of this is that there will be a lot about Death Parade left to watch that nobody knows about since it has to depart from the initial head-trick of the first episode. At the same time, they can screw it up. I don’t want more Hell Girl. Anything but that please.
PS. Yeah dancing dancing don’t stop that dancing.